Larry Shinoda is a Corvette Hall of Fame member who is best remembered for his design work on Corvettes in the Sixties including the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and the Mako Shark concept car. But did you know he also penned a design for a body kit for the C4 Corvettes that appeared in 1990?
In the late 1980’s, Shinoda was working with a Detroit engineering company and he suggested doing a body kit for the Corvette to help get the attention of GM for future products. So Larry sketched the design but the plans just didn’t go anywhere.
In April of 1989, Shinoda was in Long Beach for the Long Beach Grand Prix and met with a friend named Jim Williams, whose company sponsored one of Roger Penske’s race cars. While showing the Corvette body kit plans to Willams, IndyCar driver Rick Mears just happened to be in the same motor home at the time and he told Shinoda that he would like to have one of those. Williams asked Mears if he would be interested in lending his name to the project and Mears agreed on the spot and so the Rick Mears Corvette was born.
The Rick Mears Corvette made its debut at the 1990 LA Auto Show and eventually 11 units were completed.
Back in Detroit, one of the Rick Mears Corvette body kits was tested by GM in their wind tunnel and they found that the aerodynamics were better than the regular production Corvette. Shinoda’s Corvette had a drag coefficient .30 vs .34 for the regular C4 Corvette.
When designing the kit, Shinoda also gave it a number of personal touches including the stinger style rear-end treatment as well as removing the “rub strips” that GM used to hide the body seams.
The 1991 Shinoda Mears Corvette Convertible that will be appearing at Mecum’s Chicago auction is Lot # S192 and will be offered for sale on Saturday afternoon. The car has just 2,807 original miles and it’s the only Rick Mears Corvette finished in Yellow Pearl with Gray Leather interior. The one-of-a-kind C4 Corvette is loaded with options and has two tops. The Corvette has had just one owner in its lifetime, David Glass of D&M Corvette Specialists, who was a personal friend of Larry Shinoda and Jim Williams.
Mecum’s Chicago auction gets underway at the Schaumburg Convention Center on Thursday, October 8th and runs through Saturday, October 10th. You can catch the auction on the NBCSN. Click here to view the TV schedule.
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